Labor to Make Fast Rail Between Sydney and the Hunter a Reality

An Albanese Labor Government will make fast rail connections between Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle a reality by assigning top priority to this project for the new High-Speed Rail Authority.

Labor will provide a $500 million down payment in our first budget to start corridor acquisition, planning and early works. We will work closely with the New South Wales Government which has also identified this project as a key priority.

Labor is the party of nation building and during our last period in Government we invested more in rail projects than all previous governments combined. The Phase 2 study report into high-speed rail commissioned by Anthony Albanese as Infrastructure Minister identified Sydney to Newcastle as forming the first component of an eventual line to Brisbane.

An Albanese Labor Government will establish the High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) as a statutory agency and issue a clear statement of expectations to the HSRA to begin work on the Sydney to Newcastle corridor as a matter of priority. The line would include stops in the Central Coast, with Wyong and Gosford as obvious possibilities.

We recognise the potential of our regions and the vibrant jobs and lifestyle options they offer all Australians.  And with the population of the Hunter Valley and Central Coast forecast grow by close to 200,000 people by 2040, Labor knows that planning for our medium to long term future requires vision, dedication and a commitment to work cooperatively with the states and territories.

That’s why only an Albanese Labor Government can be trusted to build the infrastructure Australians deserve.

What’s the problem?

The NSW Government’s projections show the population of the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley growing by some 200,000 by 2040, making better transport connections a necessity.

An Albanese Government has a vision of a brighter future for our regions, with fast rail connections offering people more choice of where to live and work.

The Morrison-Joyce government has for too long seen infrastructure investment as a political plaything – only Labor has been the party of nation building with a vision for our nation’s long-term future.

Labor’s Plan

An Albanese Labor Government will ensure the new High-Speed Rail Authority works on the Sydney to Newcastle corridor as its first priority. This will be backed by a $500 million down payment to begin corridor acquisition, planning and early works.

This project will be a signature element of Labor’s plan for smart regionalisation – recognising our regions’ prosperity can be improved by better connectivity between regional centres and from the major population centres and international gateways.

An Albanese Labor government will work closely with the NSW Government on this nation-building project. We expect the High-Speed Rail Authority to identify and acquire a corridor of land that would accommodate either an initial fast rail line that could eventually be upgraded to high-speed rail, or move directly to build high-speed rail itself. And as with all our infrastructure projects, we will look build as much of our fast and high-speed rail future in Australia as is possible.

Cost of our plan

Fast and High-Speed Rail connections are not short-term political fixes, they are the kind of significant nation-building projects visionary governments invest in.

We will ensure a down-payment of $500 million is set aside in our first budget to begin work on this project, with further investment options identified between the Federal and NSW Governments once detailed planning work has been completed.

How fast will the trains go?

This line will be built with the capacity for trains to run up to and over 250kmh.

This would slash journey times from Sydney to Newcastle from over 2 and a half hours to just 45 minutes. From Sydney to Gosford would take only half an hour.

Given that this is a staged project with a long-term focus, the new High-Speed Rail Authority would work collaboratively with the NSW Government to determine the best way of delivering the project, whether that be a phased faster rail approach or an immediate provision of High Speed Rail services.

Either way, it will deliver shorter journey times to the people of Newcastle and the Central Coast.

What sections will come next?

The Phase 2 report commissioned by the last Labor government identified this Sydney-Newcastle route as the first stage of the eventual Sydney to Brisbane line.

We will take that advice and make this a priority for the new High-Speed Rail Authority.

While this route is a priority, the High-Speed Rail Authority would continue work on advancing other sections of the line, eventually connecting Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.